HoopsHype Shaquille O'Neal rumors

February 9, 2014 Updates

When center Shaquille O’Neal left the Lakers, it was blamed on his poor relationship with Kobe Bryant. He begs to differ. “We didn’t have a bad relationship because we won three out of four championships,” he told TNT. “That’s not a bad relationship at all. It was a money situation. I was getting older. They wanted me to take less money and I wasn’t going to do that, so they traded me to Miami. It doesn’t matter how many fights or scuffles we had. We’re the best one-two punch ever created.” News-Herald

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A Chinese real estate company called MyTown had lured Shaq to Chongqing — along with former NBA point guard Jason “White Chocolate” Williams — for a two-day publicity visit and exhibition game against a local Chinese professional team. The company had hired me to be Shaq’s translator. My first instructions from the Chinese bosses were straightforward: 1) find Shaq when he got off the plane; 2) hand him a bouquet of roses so large that I could barely hold them. When Shaq arrived, his posse walking closely behind, I tried to present him with the portable garden I was carrying. “You got a girlfriend?” were his first words, asked in his famous, woofer-rattling monotone. “No,” I responded. “Good. Then you’ll need these more than I do.” News-Herald

The main event was a basketball game in Chongqing’s largest professional sports arena. I arrived early with Shaq and his crew, including his security chief, Jerome Cohen, and his agent, Perry Rogers. Together, we polished off six medium pizzas from Pizza Hut. I did not see Shaq so much as sample a single Chinese dish during his visit, though he did repeatedly ask me if I could find him a restaurant that served dog. Shaq’s other odd requests included going to a hookah bar and finding high-quality, knock-off women’s bags. (That said, he has a good poker face and I was never sure whether he was joking.) News-Herald

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Inside the NBA’s talent has plenty of fun and everyone is careful to not tamper with the chemistry. None of the panelists outside of Johnson attend production meetings, a decision everyone acknowledges is vital to the organic dialogue of the show. “We don’t want them at the production meetings,” Johnson says. “We don’t want them there because as long as the producer and I know what we’ve got, that’s all we need.” “Philosophically, the best TV comes from great chemistry,” says Barry. “It doesn’t happen for every show. Sometimes you have to search for it, and even then you don’t always find it. But when you do find it, you can’t deny it. For these guys specifically, they feel like guys that you would want to sit down and have a conversation with, and feel like you can. They’re approachable.” For The Win

And then there’s Barkley, the show’s lightning rod. The Hall of Famer and former league MVP is famous (and infamous) for speaking his mind, no matter the subject or the consequences. “When Charles got here, he changed our show dramatically,” Johnson says. “Kenny and I were having a good time and it was a little off the wall, but he changed the show dramatically and he changed the landscape for every show.” “Everybody felt like, ‘We have to bring someone in to be our Charles Barkley.’ But it doesn’t work that way. Charles had that equity built in, of all those years as a player being the most quotable guy in the league. He almost had that diplomatic immunity. He’ll say something outrageous and people will just say, ‘Oh, that’s Chuck being Chuck.’ Other guys try to say it, and suddenly find themselves looking for other work.” For The Win

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Kobe Bryant said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that his four dream teammates for a pickup game would be Magic Johnson,Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Interesting that Bryant omitted former Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan. But Jordan excluded Bryant on his list, picking Johnson, Scottie Pippen, James Worthy and Hakeem Olajuwon for his team. Newsday

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